Law firm says hundreds of thousands worth of checks stolen out of metro post office

Partners in a Decatur law firm say they have had hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks stolen from the mail over the past year.

Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray has been reporting on stolen mail and check fraud problems since last year.

Attorney Ken Carpenter reached out to Gray after repeatedly having checks stolen, washed, and forged after being placed in the U.S. mail.

“People always used it as an excuse for not paying, that it’s in the mail. Well, literally these days it can be in the mail and it doesn’t get through,” Carpenter told Gray.

Carpenter’s law partner Ed Segraves said their firm has been in business for more than five decades and never had problems like this until this year.

“It’s happened to the tune of probably a couple hundred thousand dollars,” Segraves said.

A check from the firm to the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner for $563 was stolen from the mail, washed, and became a check to someone else for $11,000.

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In a Channel 2 Action News investigation last November, we told you how thieves are stealing postal carrier master keys, targeting neighborhood cluster boxes and blue mailboxes to steal checks.

And in a September story, we told you how those checks can end up for sale on the dark web.

But Carpenter said these thefts did not happen at a mailbox. Their firm policy is to take mail inside and never put it in an outdoor box.

“This is occurring within the post office,” Carpenter said.

Just last week, we told you how Metrobag in Paulding County is still trying to get Navy Federal Credit Union to return stolen money from checks stolen out of the mail.

“It’s tens of thousands of dollars of our money that was stolen,” Metrobag owner Mark Verrone told Gray.

The U.S. Treasury Department found that check fraud cases have skyrocketed by 84% just in the past year.

The Decatur attorneys now have taken their firm name off all envelopes, among other security changes.

“You can’t trust the post office, it’s as simple as that,” Carpenter said.

Gray reached out to the Postal Service on Friday. They referred him to the Postal Service Inspector General.

An IG spokesperson said they have launched an audit into how the USPS is responding to mail theft.

The results of that audit are expected by the end of the month or early next month.

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